Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

Joint Biochemistry and Botany seminar: Associate Professor Jonathan Plett, Western Sydney University

Layers of Complexity: Tales from the search for master controls of plant-fungal mutualism

In marginal, nutrient poor forest soils, the roots of dominant tree species enter into mutually beneficial, nutrient acquiring interactions with ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungi. Despite the inherent benefit to the plant, the molecular events that underpin these interactions remain poorly understood. Two main aspects studied to date regarding the controls of these symbioses include how plant immunity is modulated during the ingrowth of fungi into plant roots and, secondly, the regulation in flow of nutritional benefit that the fungus imparts to the host.

In this talk, I will present some of our unpublished work looking at both of these aspects. In the first part of the talk, I will look deep into the molecular modulation of hormone signalling in plants during symbiosis. Using a genome wide association study, we identified a quantitative trait locus (QTL) of Populus encoded a master regulator of the mycorrhizal colonization process. I will present our functional characterization of this protein and discuss our current hypotheses of its role as a key “hub” protein involved in regulating plant-microbe. In the second half of my talk, I will cover our recent work considering the genetic and environmental factors affecting nitrogen use by ECM fungi and its subsequent delivery to ECM hosts. Using a genetically diverse population Pisolithus microcarpus, I will talk about the aspects of fungal nitrogen metabolism that appear to correlate to the ability of different fungal genotypes to support plant nutrition. I will conclude with some views on how outcomes of this work could form the groundwork for future tools to better model the role of fungi in soil nutrient cycling and guidelines for plant: fungal pairings in reforestation practices.


This seminar will be livestreamed via Zoom at the link below:

Zoom link for Associate Professor Jonathan Plett's seminar

Zoom password: 807740

Date Wednesday, 1 March 2023
Time 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Audience Undergraduate students,Postgraduate students,Staff
Event Type Academic
DepartmentBiochemistry, Botany
LocationLecture Room G.19, Otago Business School, Dunedin and online via Zoom
Contact NameAliya Rosli

Save this event